Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as Pope at the age of 78.
He was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 and led the Catholic Church for less than eight years. In 2013, he announced that he was too old to continue and moved to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery.
It was the first resignation of a pope in nearly 600 years.
Governments, Vatican watchers, and even the former pontiff’s closest aides were taken aback by his resignation. His aides were unaware of what he was planning to do and were left false”incredulous”.
Pope Gregory XII, who stepped down in 1415, was the most recent Pope to resign.
Prior to becoming Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger served as a senior figure in the Vatican for 24 years before taking the helm when the Catholic Church was rocked by the scandal of priest sex abuse of children.